I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.One-Third Nerd by Gennifer Choldenko
on January 29, 2019
Format: Hardcover, Audiobook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
A funny, fast-paced, and heartfelt story from the Newbery Honor-winning author of the Al Capone series.
Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends; Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he's over a lot. And then there's Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment.
Recently, Cupcake has a problem--she's peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn't stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?
For me, there was a very specific reason I picked this book up, beyond the fact that it just sounded really cute. My life, or more specifically, the life of my daughter, is painfully similar to Liam. Like Liam, my daughter is the same age (although because of her late year birthday, she is in fourth, not fifth grade. She also has two siblings, one of whom has special needs (autism, rather than downs syndrome), her parents have split up, and she even has a cat that likes to pee on laundry when the litter box isn’t emptied quick enough. All, in all, there were some great reasons for me to jump into this one and see if it was something to pass along to her.
And indeed it was. This book really felt like it touched on the day-to-day life and issues that an older elementary school student would face. All the things I mentioned above are typical of MANY families, and I didn’t even bring up the idea of money issues, which so many kids (mine included) can be painfully aware of. Liam’s life was complicated in a way that kids will understand – it isn’t some out-of-touch emotion that is too young or too old for the characters. The issues were something that kids will easily relate to and comprehend in a positive way. I definitely felt an emotional bond with Liam that I think kids will latch on to.
The book centers around Liam, Dakota (the “big personality” sibling who usually gets in trouble for it), and Izzy (the youngest with down syndrome). The book spends a great deal of time on their schemes to raise money, which I had to say reminded me of my schemes with my siblings as young children. It was just the right amount of trouble to solve throughout the pages.
The best part of the book, which I don’t get to see a lot of when I’m reading YA, was the added illustrations. It just added to the story in happy-making way. My heart was so happy each time I came up one.
So, I’ve passed this book on to my daughter and I definitely recommend it to your kids as well!
Three winners will receive a finished copy of One-Third Nerd (US Only) Best of luck!
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